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Author Topic: FBI Spying on Peace Groups
FIJC
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quote:
"Respect for the integrity of the investigation has nothing to do with anything at this point. If these documents are really that crucial, why not have the ACLU send in one person sworn to secrecy, etc., and have them go through the files?"
??
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javelin
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I second that FIJC.

Ivan - I already suggested that when we have a complaint of this sort, we should be able to, for example, have the intelligence committee look at what is going on and issue a ruling. Perhaps they could even have a staff that reviews this stuff on a continual basis. I don't consider the ACLU to be a safe source for this review, and anyone doing the review would need the appropriate security clearances.

I don't find it credible, at this point, to believe that the FBI is doing something nefarious. I'm certainly willing to spend some money to make sure, however. I do think that people are getting pretty excited over an issue that is amazingly minor at this point - it's not like we won't have a chance to resolve the situation if you ARE right, and it get's out of control.

[ February 03, 2006, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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flydye45
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quote:
Respect for the integrity of the investigation has nothing to do with anything at this point. If these documents are really that crucial, why not have the ACLU send in one person sworn to secrecy, etc., and have them go through the files? If everything is reasonable, then no problem, there's been public oversite and everything is kosher. If it's not, that person makes a big stink about how the FBI is using BS excuses to not reveal that they've been conducting fruitless investigations of leftist groups for no good reason.

Somehow I think their threshold for "reasonable" would not be reasonable to anyone else.
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Lifewish
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quote:
Somehow I think their threshold for "reasonable" would not be reasonable to anyone else.
That's a fair point. It'd need to be someone with no vested interest in proving the Government right or wrong and a good knowledge of what the law allows. Maybe a judge or something.

Uh... but isn't that why we have warrants in the first place?

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flydye45
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No one has cited that these investigations were without warrent. But a nice inference, Adam. [Wink]

Yep, the Feds are out there asking folks questions and looking into a bunch of people. Most of them are innocent. And exactly how is this different from any other criminal investigation? I could also bring up the fact of the folly of sleeping with dogs and expecting a flea free existance, but I doubt that will be persuasive to those who have already concluded that it is automatically a fishing expedition.

[ February 04, 2006, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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canadian
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What right wing groups are under investigation?
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Lifewish
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quote:
What right wing groups are under investigation?
Well, probably some militias. But that's always the case, and the feds have reason to believe that the militias are dangerous.
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by canadian:
What right wing groups are under investigation?

And in what way does that matter one wit, canadian? Do you think the ACLU would be investigating if these groups were "right wing"?
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flydye45
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IIRC, the previous administration had a field day, not with the FBI, but with the IRS against Right Wing groups. And you were saying?
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canadian
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I was simply curious, ye defenders of the truth.
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by canadian:
I was simply curious, ye defenders of the truth.

[Roll Eyes]
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Lifewish
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quote:
And in what way does that matter one wit, canadian? Do you think the ACLU would be investigating if these groups were "right wing"?
Almost certainly, yes. For example, they're currently defending a Southern Baptist preacher who got done for soliciting.

quote:
No one has cited that these investigations were without warrent. But a nice inference, Adam.
I'd point out that if they were with warrant then no-one would be complaining. But for an explicit citation see here:

"The ACLU is suing the National Security Agency for violating the U.S. Constitution. The illegal NSA spying program authorized by President Bush just after September 11, 2001, allows the NSA to intercept vast quantities of the international telephone and Internet communications of innocent Americans without court approval." (emphasis theirs)

[ February 04, 2006, 11:30 PM: Message edited by: Lifewish ]

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flydye45
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Sorry, that is a different case. The FBI is not the NSA. Unless you can show that the FBI is looking without a warrent, I stand by the original statement.

There is a big difference between being p.o ed about being observed and being observed illegally. If the FBI didn't have warrents, the ACLU would definately make that an issue. They haven't. The thrust of their argument seems to be that they are being watched without sufficient cause. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Lifewish
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Doh, sorry, getting horribly confused. On second reading, it looks like you're right that they probably had warrants.

The issue still remains of using funds earmarked for stopping terrorism to spy on a number of non-terrorist groups. I think PETA are assholes (my university had a looooong visit from them fairly recently for trying to build a primate research lab) but I'd hesitate to class them as terrorists, except in a rather more mundane sense than I think was intended.

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flydye45
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quote:
This is a bit of a red herring. Yes, some of these groups have engaged in illegal activities, but many have not, and irregardless that is not the common denominator, nor the reason they are being spied upon. You are (or seem to be) essentially saying that its okay for the FBI to spy on Maine Christian peace groups because Greenpeace sometimes harrasses navy vessels. Thats absurd.

It is less absurd if some of the prime criminal movers and shakers belong to PETA and Greenpeace and Puppy Loving Vegetarians who Envision World Peace. Multiple memberships are common among certain kinds of advocates, Right, Left and Wacky.

[ February 05, 2006, 10:05 AM: Message edited by: flydye45 ]

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by Lifewish:
Doh, sorry, getting horribly confused. On second reading, it looks like you're right that they probably had warrants.

The issue still remains of using funds earmarked for stopping terrorism to spy on a number of non-terrorist groups. I think PETA are assholes (my university had a looooong visit from them fairly recently for trying to build a primate research lab) but I'd hesitate to class them as terrorists, except in a rather more mundane sense than I think was intended.

They used funds earmarked for stopping terrorism? Can you show me where this information is coming from?

Also note: even if so, they were investigating these groups for links with terrorism, IIRC, so what's the problem here?

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Everard
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Investigating your political enemies for possible links to terrorism does not set off alarm bells in your head?

If we're investigating groups of ALL political stripes, thats different then investigating people who voted against you. And it appears that what is happening is investigating people who voted against you.

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flydye45
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No Ev, we are only investigating groups who burn labs, steal property, destroy logging equipment etc. I'm sorry that the Right fringe groups don't do that, though I would have no problem if we earmarked the same funds for abortion bomber groups (and how long has it been since you've heard about that).
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witless chum
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This kind of "...morally treasonous to the American people..." behaviour is also rampant on the local level. Local P.D.s can justify Department of Homeleand Security funding for infiltrating groups like this and claiming it as 'investigating terrorism.'

Salon story

This is the kind of the thing that makes me indescribably angry at the government. People taking unearned power and using to butt into people's lives. The government thinking it has the right to question what citizens are doing. These people aren't breaking the law, except the unwritten one about don't ever question what the consensus says. These people just have things the wrong way around. The thing that made me angrier at George W. Bush than anything else was when he slounched into office and extended the seal on presidiential records. That makes me sick. They have no right to hide 99 percent of the things they classify.

I don't care about terrorism, if we have this kind of thing going on in this country, eventually we won't be free any more. And I agree with Ben Franklin and the New Hampshire license plate.

America has a long history of cowardice in the face of subversion. See the aforementioned IWW.

The other thing is the boneheaded stupidity of it all. Even if all these groups are down with/supporting/fronts for the ELF, who cares? The ELF seems like pretty small fry, ooh, they might burn up a bulldozer, or do something else that doesn't injure anyone. Heavens. The fact that they are charged with "Terrorism" is joke. The idea that ELF whackos are even in the same universe as 9-11 or even the anthrax mailer, is a bad joke.

One minor correction, the IWW were Anarcho Syndicalists not communists.

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flydye45
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Yes. $54 million in damage is a hell of a punchline.
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flydye45
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But to your main point. Yup, the cops shouldn't have done that, or needed to show justifiable cause. Just because they are wackos isn't enough to spy on them.
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